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Issue 7 Study Abroad

Belgian college admissions

đź•’ 3 min

You’re thinking about studying in Belgium? Great, because in this article we’ll go over the whole admissions process for Belgian universities and colleges.

In this post I’ll be writing from the experience of Karolina, an international student from Lithuania.

This article is focused on bachelor’s (undergraduate) studies, and will approach admissions from an academics-focused student’s perspective.

Why study in Belgium?

Belgium provides great networking opportunities and programs in German, French, Dutch, and English (we’ll focus on English programs). Its location and administrative and economic significance make it so that there are opportunities for students around every corner.

For its great academics and quality of life, it has very low living and tuition costs. Belgium is a multicultural hub – roughly one in six students in Belgium is international.

Intro

Belgian college admissions go through specific college portals, which can be done in English. As they don’t follow a common admission system, you should treat this guide as an introduction to the subject and follow up by doing your own research and contacting the colleges you’re interested in.

If you’re thinking about studying in Belgium, then you probably have KU Leuven on your radar. It is the most prestigious university in Belgium and offers five bachelor’s programs in English: Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, Business Engineering, Business Administration and finally Engineering.

If the admissions are on a rolling basis, meaning that they last until every available spot is filled (which is true for KU Leuven), then it would be best to apply as soon as possible.

I’ll use the word college to refer to academic institutions that provide bachelor’s programs.

Standardized tests

Depending on the college, some can accept GMAT, SAT, ACT, or GRE test results, and some can require one or more of them. Make sure to check the website of the specific program you’re applying to.

If you’re going to take the ACT or the SAT, make sure to check out our article on US admissions, where we go through the tests and preparation tips.

You’ll also probably need to do an English proficiency test, which could be the TOEFL, IELTS, or a Cambridge English exam. Make sure to consider what the minimum required scores are.

Applications

Applications generally start sometime after New Year’s (in your senior year of high school) and last until June, or until every spot is taken. Colleges have their own application portals where you can submit documents and fill out your data.

If your documents aren’t in Dutch, French, German, or English, you’ll need to get them translated by an official translator and certified by the institution that gave them to you.

The required documents are:

  • Academic diplomas and transcripts, with translation
  • English proficiency certificate
  • Proof of payment of application fee
  • Passport
  • Motivational letter
  • CV
  • Test results (for certain programs)
  • Recommendation letters (for certain programs)

You’ll upload all of these documents through the college’s application portal, where you’ll also get your results.

Scholarships

At the time of writing, bachelor’s scholarships are hard to find in Belgium, but don’t let that get you down, as studying in Belgium is relatively inexpensive.

Costs

KU Leuven, for instance, has a yearly tuition of around 1000€, and living costs (including basically all of the other expenses) can range from 650€ to 1150€ per month (depending on if you want your own accommodation and how often you eat out). Generally, universities don’t get more expensive than that if you’re from the EU, but tuition can get quite a bit more expensive if you’re not an EU citizen.

What now?

Here are some resources to go from here:

  • Association of Croatian Students Abroad, who are helping us with this series of guides. They have a website and a YouTube channel. (sorry, Croatian only!)

Good luck!

Huge thanks to Karolina for helping me put together this guide.

Did I forget something? Do you have different experiences? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.

By Nikola Jurković

Nikola is a futurism, "making", and philosophy enthusiast. He spends most of his time thinking or reading, and is passionate about the popularization of critical thinking and science.

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